GySgt James D. Mathis was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina in 1986. He graduated from North Davidson High School in 2005.
Shortly after graduation, GySgt Mathis enlisted and underwent Recruit Training at MCRD Parris Island, SC. Following recruit training he was sent to Camp Geiger, NC for four weeks of Marine Combat Training (MCT). After MCT, he was sent to the Naval School of Music Little Creek, Virginia for Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training at the Basic Musicians Course. Upon graduation, LCpl Mathis checked into the III MEF Band in Okinawa, Japan. While there, he served as the unit's Information Systems Coordinator, ensuring that every Marine had computer access as well as fixing all technical issues.
In May 2008 Cpl Mathis reported into the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing Band at MCAS Cherry Point, NC and was promoted to Sgt in June 2008. While there, he served as the Transportation NCOIC ensuring that all vehicles were properly checked in and out. He supervised travel of the band for over 10,000 miles ensuring the training of all coach bus drivers was done in a timely manner. He also served as the Assistant Drum Major and Administration NCOIC. As the Assistant Drum Major, Sgt Mathis led the band during drill rehearsals to prepare the unit for all upcoming commitments. He also coordinated and led the band in over 20 commitments.
In June 2011, Sgt Mathis reported to the Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) Band on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. There he also served as the Assistant Drum Major and Administration Chief leading the band in over 30 commitments and also assisted in three international TAD trips to Tonga, New Zealand and America Samoa.
In January 2013, SSgt Mathis reported back to the Naval School of Music to attend the Unit Leaders Course in Little Creek, Virginia. Upon graduation, he reported to the 2d Marine Division Band, at Camp Lejeune, NC. He served as the Assistant Drum Major, Administration Chief, Staff Duty Coordinator and French Horn Section Leader. As the Assistant Drum Major, he supervised countless hours of rehearsal time and ensured that all Marines met all standards published in the T&R Manual. He also served as the Platoon Sergeant and the Training Chief. While in this capacity he coordinated a heavy machine gun live fire, keeping the unit up to date and trained for their secondary mission, to serve as a machine gun platoon.
In April 2016, SSgt Mathis reported to the Quantico Marine Band where he served as the Drum Major. He was responsible for the Administration section, where he oversaw all commitment routing and outside correspondence, the Transportation section, where he supervised all unit transportation needs, and the Loading section. He was also responsible for all of the band’s travel plans, coordinating trips to Virginia Beach, VA, New York City, NY, Bridgeport, CT, New Orleans, LA, and an international trip to Hamina, Finland. While here, SSgt Mathis also attended the Force Fitness Instructor Course where he learned new and adaptive ways to train Marines in all areas of fitness.
In October 2019, SSgt Mathis reported to his current duty station and billet as the Drum Major of the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band. He was promoted to his current rank on 1 July 2022.
His awards include the Navy and Marines Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and Korean Defense Medal.